Daan Schuurbiers

Daan Schuurbiers

Daan Schuurbiers

Founding Director, De Proeffabriek: Consultancy for Responsible Innovation

Daan Schuurbiers works with researchers and policy makers to include a concern for people and the environment at the earliest stages of innovation. Throughout his research and current advisory work, Daan has encouraged early reflection on the social impacts of emerging technologies. He designs training courses for researchers, builds novel interdisciplinary collaborations, advises on research policy and regularly speaks at conferences to raise awareness with researchers of the broader societal dimensions of their work.

Daan studied philosophy and chemistry at the University of Amsterdam and holds a PhD from Delft University of Technology in the ethics of technology. In 2010 he founded De Proeffabriek, a Dutch consultancy, to train researchers, advise policy makers and advance public debate on responsible innovation.

Daan has been extensively involved in European research projects and programmes over the last fifteen years. He is currently a member of the Horizon 2020 Advisory Group on Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology & Advanced Manufacturing (NMBP) and chairs the External Advisory Board of NUCLEUS, a Horizon 2020 project investigating how to realise Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in universities and research institutions.

Main fields of interest are: Responsible research and innovation, societal engagement, ethics of emerging technologies

Abstract Title: Reversing the order of innovation – putting people first.

Abstract: Reversing the order of innovation – putting people first
This presentation focuses on the social value of nanotechnologies. Social value creation is about realising social and environmental benefits in addition to economic gain. Public funding of nanotechnologies has been predicated on their potential to realise social value, for instance by revolutionizing production, improving resource efficiency and combating disease. Current innovation management however seems to construe social value as a fortunate by-product of innovation in nanotechnologies, rather than the driver. Nanotechnologies have the potential to deliver contributions to the pressing social and environmental challenges of our time, but their contribution is not self-evident. This presentation argues that the order of innovation has to be reversed, putting social value at the heart of innovation governance. This can be done on different levels: by explicitly integrating social and environmental considerations in setting priorities for research; by opening up research decision making to a broader range of voices; and by including social and environmental indicators beyond economic growth and competitiveness in the appraisal of nanotechnologies. This would allow nanotechnologies to be more productively focused on the welfare and wellbeing of European citizens.

Read more about Daan and his work here.

SPEAKER OF SESSION 15: THE SOCIETAL DIMENSION AND GOVERNANCE OF INNOVATION